Is this world a product of my own mind?

In the following video (Sinhala language)Ven Thithagalle Anandasiri argues that the whole world is mind made.
According to him my family, country, earth, Sujato, Trupm, queen, Buddha, my enemy etc are all a product of my own mind.
We think that the world still exist after our death, (Buddha passed away but still the world appeared to be there) so we come back to this world again.
ie: I am coming back to my own world.
If I hurt someone I hurt myself. If I help someone I am helping my self.
He says this to be realised by Ariyapriyesana.
Is this teaching in line with Theravada teaching.

My suffering experience of the world is definetely a product of my ignorance with regard to the four noble truths and its enobbling tasks.

The theory is that once this specific ignorance is totally dispelled the whole dependent origination of suffering falls apart.

For the stream of experience in which that breakthrough is attained the absence of suffering is felt as supreme happiness or peace, and the perpetuation of the suffering previously experienced, through the phenomenon of rebirth is said to be ceased - simply for the fuel needed for it to continue has been fully given up, abandoned.

If an external or internal, mind-made or atoms-made world was left behind or not, that does not matter from the point of view of the four noble truths and its enobbling tasks.

That’s how I reason within myself away from such arguments and issues and reinforce the choice of not even bothering to investigating these things further. They are totally irrelevant to the task at hand: fullfil the four enobbling tasks presented by the Buddhas


SN 2.26 I think will shed some light on this.

With Metta


"And what is the right view that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions? ‘There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next world. There is mother & father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are brahmans & contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.’ This is the right view that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions. MN117

"’“Everything exists”: That is one extreme. “Everything doesn’t exist”: That is a second extreme. Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma via the middle:

‘Mind only’ school of Buddhism

With metta

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I don’t understand Sinhalese and I think it would help if we could engage with him to understand his use of terms but based on your summary:

There is a sutta where Buddha describes his awakening as the world coming to an end. Elsewhere ‘World’ is defined as consisting of feelings, perceptions, etc. He also states something like ‘I see but I see nothing. I hear but I hear nothing. I feel but I feel nothing’. Ajahn Amaro in a talk on Nibanna describes a quality of ‘no thingness’ which seems to be a similar statement. Sorry I don’t have specific sutta references for you.

For me, what this means is that our experience of phenomena is colored with our own mind-made world of likes, dislikes, opinions, views, etc. These mental qualities (because of ignorance) being sort of painted onto the world of phenomena (which Buddha simply labeled as ‘such’). In this way what we end up seeing is a mix of external phenomena and internal mental phenomena that appear ‘out there’ and are very convincing. These internal mental phenomena are so powerful in how we experience the world that when they fall away it makes a powerful change in how things are experienced such that the Buddha would say the world came to an end.

But I think without being able to speak with this monk as to how he is using specific words, it is hard to say if this is what he is talking about. There are as Mat pointed out the mind only schools as well.

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If I see a rain bow I know it is a mental construct .
But a child may think it is real.
The question is whether I can say the same thing about, say a human.
Are objects seen and perceive via six senses real?

one of the Gradual training stock passages, defining the Buddha, reads

Tathāgata arises in the world, a worthy one, perfectly enlightened, endowed with clear knowledge and conduct, accomplished, a knower of the world, unsurpassed trainer of men to be tamed, teacher of gods and men, enlightened and exalted. Having realized by his own direct knowledge this world with its gods, its Māras, and its Brahmās, this generation with its recluses and brahmins, its rulers and people, he makes it known to others. He teaches the Dhamma that is good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end, possessing meaning and phrasing; he reveals the holy life that is fully complete and purified


the emphasized sentence may be construed as acknowledgement of reality of the world


What do you mean by ‘real’? :slight_smile:
Everything we know about phenomena are interpreted by our mind/brain/whatever it is. There is no way to tell what is really out there if in fact there is even an ‘out there’ there. I think this is ultimately one of those imponderables.

There is a good essay that talks about this by Bhikkhu Cintita:

Early Buddhist psychology has a phenomenological orientation, that is, it is almost completely restricted to elements as they occur in experience, with almost no interest in mechanisms that might underly experience or persist behind the scenes, or even in a world “out there,” beyond our experience. In fact, the world itself is most generally understood not as something “out there,” but as just this world of experience. Quite to the point,
It is in this fathom-long living body endowed with perception and mind that I proclaim the world, the origin of the world, the cessation of the world and the way leading to the cessation of the world.” (AN 4.45)

The main principle to keep in mind in the phenomenological perspective is that the world “out there” – assuming it exists at all, which we can assume, but cannot prove – is beyond direct experience. When we think we see something “out there,” a cow, for instance, our experience is name-and-form, something more akin to an internal image, mediated by the playing out of shapes and colors on the retina, then processed physiologically through our neural hardware before the experience arises. Nonetheless, we can have the impression that we are looking at a cow “out there,” impute the existence of a cow “out there,” and reason about that cow “out there.” We can even impute and reason about abstract objects, untouched by name-and-form. But our impressions, imputations and reasoning are themselves just experiences. Our thoughts and language characteristically have a referential quality, the ability to seem to point to or designate something “out there.” But a pointing-to is itself just an element of experience; the thing “out there” itself is never directly experienced in itself, and therefore is not in “the world,” as the Buddha uses the term above.


A very good point :anjal: I mean, does it matter if the noumena, things in themselves, exist, if everything we are confronted with are phenomena that are definitely mind-made? Wouldn’t it be enough to realize that our experiential world is mind-made, and mind acts according to conditions and not its own ‘atta-y’ volition? In that respect, the ultimate existence of the ‘objective’ world might be really irrelevant for sucessful Dhamma practice and any speculation on the subject may be regarded as fruitless and unnecessary metaphysical speculation (just as any speculations on the nature of Nibbana are, IMHO).